Sunday, 22 January 2023

Africa, Memoir Writing, Journaling, Swashbuckling stories …

 

A life of adventures – whether we're blogging, writing short stories or novels …

'On Leopard Rock' – Wilbur Smith's autobiography


Recommended by me
to all writers to consider
we're travelling as life ages … our life changes, we grow, we think … we wonder …


I enjoyed his books, then got a little bored at the 'sameness' … now decades later, after coming across an article on his passing, which led me to decide that I needed to read his autobiography …



I have the same feelings … b-u-t …....related to his life's journey, by realising how much education I'd missed by not absorbing the information his dering-do storytelling offered …


Wise old owl - by Jamet

In case you have not come across his books – I'd recommend the autobiography – for a number of reasons … 'On Leopard Rock' …


He's still pretty pleased with himself … but he's that kind of author … he is authoritative: so be it.


He gives us an overview of how he approaches his legendary and highly respected research … of what he does when the muse dries up – he escapes, often to lands anew …


Typical creation made by Gilbert

Obviously he writes about Africa … the subject he knows well … he had plenty of rejections early on, before settling on writing 'what he knew'  thus, in earnest, began his writing career …


The Courtney family – 1960s Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) 

The Ballantyne series - this is a crossover series between two families – set in southern Africa, but then historically relating it back to the Anglo-Sudan War (1881-1899) …


He gives us an Ancient Egyptian series …


the Hester Cross series covers Somalia/Africa...


then there are 12 stand alone books …


This last book – his autobiography 'On Leopard Rock – a Life of Adventures': there are 17 chapters … his memoir of his life …


Card made by Pascaline


Now on to his latest publisher – Bonnier Books UK – they'd acquired world all-language rights to ten new books from Wilbur Smith, his wife and business director Niso Smith, and their agent …



As Bonnier's confirms Wilbur Smith is a writer known for his meticulous details; he could spend days, even months, researching things. History, and especially African culture, fascinated him …


I'm ashamed I'd never heard of Bonniers – but they're a Swedish publishing house … established in 1804 – they now have representations around the world.


Their website is informative … history they describe 'by our rich literary heritage, but never bound by convention' …


... while the details set out under Wilbur Smith's book site … are to put it mildly comprehensive – per the link.


Wilbur and Niso

One last idea for you to consider … you'll have to read the book as to how he met his fourth, and last wife … a lawyer: Mokhiniso Rakimova – who now run his business and Foundation …

She, if you want to learn more, … is Niso a Tadjik – persian-speaking Iranian ethnic group native to central Asia … Afghanistan, Tajikstan and Uzbekistan …


So much to appreciate in this world … and I'm only suggesting that you read this one book – til you get hooked into broadening your horizons! Enjoy …


The note that came with the cards
I ordered: "Cards from Africa"

Thanks for reading … lots here I know – but I wanted to post … and I'm lending the book later this week to an African lover – a friend who lived in Zimbabwe and Namibia for many a year …


Cards for Africa - come from Rwanda ... a small country in the middle of Africa - west of Kenya, east of the Congo ... as described from the heart of Africa using handmade paper recycled from local of office waste ... made by cheerful young folk ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

34 comments:

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I did read two or three WS books in my younger years... but never really got into his style, I have to say. Dad was fond of his books. YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

Like YAM, I read a couple of his novels and then moved on. Memoirs however are ALWAYS high on my go-to list. Thank you. And hooray for meticulous research.

Jeff said...

I'm pretty sure I read one of his books years ago... But this autobiography does sound interesting.

Liz A. said...

Sometimes a writer's style is not for you. It sounds like he had plenty of fans otherwise. And, of course, our tastes change as we mature.

hels said...

The concept of autobiographies is interesting. On one hand, the author was the only one there when each event or relationship happened. Noone else knows the details, not even a spouse or child of the star of the story.

On the other hand, the autobiographer has a vested interest in self censoring, intentionally or otherwise.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I don't think I've ever read anything by him - oh well, more books for the list!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thanks for the recommendation!

4 wives...gracious. :) I'd imagine it would be tough to keep a marriage going with so much travel, though.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yam - like you ... but this time I read his autobiography with new eyes - relating to the blogging and authorly world I now frequent - and thus found the book could be instructive. As you mention - he writes action packed stories - so more appropriate for men to read ... but they were swashbuckling in their style and for a while I enjoyed them - now I can see I'd learn from them ...

@ EC - yes I can understand you, Yam and 'me' moving on - but the autobiography though in the same vein offers much more, if one can read it as something to learn from - which is the way I took it.

@ Jeff - that's great ... I'm sure you'll enjoy the autobiography ... there's a great deal in there - as to his approach to writing his stories.

@ Liz - yes I know ... tastes change, some books are more of the male ilk ... and as you say we change - hence I was intrigued by this memoir.

@ Hels - Exactly we don't know for sure ... but I didn't take it as accurate - but he gives us some interesting thoughts if we're writing memoir, fiction ... or connecting with readers. His research apparently is impeccable and thorough ...

@ John - he writes a rip roaring yarn ... the autobiography would be the first to read, then you can plunge off into Africa, or Egypt ... or the others ...

Thanks for all your comments - interesting to read .. and anyone who reads his books - please enjoy (and perhaps learn from) them. Cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Elizabeth - you popped in ... yes 4 wives: one divorce, one died, another divorce and then an interesting meeting, proposal and marriage - he goes into the whys and wherefores of life ... so we understand where he's at - ... but you're right - not easy to keep that kind of marriage going ... it worked though ... lovely to see you here and well worth reading - cheers Hilary

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Not an author I am at all familiar with, Hilary. Perhaps because of the direct colonial connection to Africa he is better known in the UK. Reading the comments above it sounds as though others had difficulty with his work. I will have to see if I can lay my hands on one of his books. Hugs - David

Dan said...

I am not familiar with this author, and I have to admit to not being familiar with the subject areas of his books. This might be a good way to get my feet wet. Thanks for the review and introduction.

Rhodesia said...

I have read most of his books but I agree many are quite similar. Must have a look for his autobiography. Keep well, will be in touch when we get back. Cheers Diane

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Four wives? Guess he was a roamer in all things.

Jacqui Murray said...

I read all of the ancient Egypt series, but by the time I got through the final one (they're all so long!), I had decided it would be my last. He's amazing and excellent, but tedious at times. I haven't read the autobiography. I'll check that out.

Janie Junebug said...

I haven't heard of Smith. In the U.S., we don't have the kind of connection to African countries that many in the U.K. seem to feel.

Love,
Janie

jabblog said...

It's a long time since I read any books by Wilbur Smith. I remember my parents enjoying them. What an interesting, full life he led.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David - I suggest you borrow this book from the library if you can - you can move through it quite quickly - but it's worth a read ...

@ Dan - as I mention above to David - I'll be interested to hear about your reaction ...

@ Diane - like me ... I so agree. It might be at the airport - but you're probably down south now ... enjoy Southern Africa - the land of Wilbur Smith. Enjoy when you get hold of one ...

@ Alex - yes four wives ... but divorced, died, met his fourth, so divorced his third ... then lived happily ever after with his Tadjik lady.

@ Jacqui - oh great you've read the Egyptian series ... yes the sameness, yet thorough ... this memoir is worth looking at in the way it's constructed ...

@ Janie - he spent quite a lot of time in the US ... but I understand your comment - we do have a stronger connection with Europe and Africa because of our location.

@ Janice - yes ... it was a long time since I read one of his books - but there's lots to learn here - if you're interested ... I'll re- read it and cross-reference to learn more ...

Thanks so much for visiting - I'm going to learn a lot from my revisit. Cheers to you all - Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Thanks for sharing, Hils. Wilbur sounds like an interesting personage.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Wilbur Smith isn't a writer I've read, although his name is familiar to me - his books gracing every bookshop and library I've ever been in.

Reading the comments here, his style seems to divide opinion!

lostinimaginaryworlds.blogspot.com said...

Thanks yet again for the kind support Hilary, and here's wishing you and those you love a very happy and healthy year ahead. Hugs.

Birgit said...

Sad to admit but I never heard of him. When reading your post I thought of the Brotish TV Show, " As Time Goes By." It stars Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer as former lovers who reunite. He is an author who lived in Africa for many years and wrote a book called , " My Life In Kenya." The book was quite boring.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - I just liked the learning offered by reading his memoir - from an author's point of view ...

@ Annalisa - yes - he'll divide opinion ... but he wrote successful swashbuckling stores (more male oriented, I guess) - and could help us understand parts of the world we've never come across ... perhaps you'll give it a try - sometime. Worth having a read through ...

@ Carole - good to see you - hope all is well in your neck of the woods - take care and keep writing ....

@ Birgit - not to worry - new ones to find. Your idea re the British Show "As time Goes By" ... I can't match up - very different, as you'd find if you had a chance to read one of his books. Kenya is also different to southern Africa ... but I found out something I didn't know re the tv show - South Africa's tv back then was restricted because of British equity's apartheid ban.

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting ... cheers Hilary

Nilanjana Bose said...

I've read rather a lot of his books - once upon a time, till I too got a little bored by his black and white characterisations, the bad guys are ludicrously terrible and the good guys are too good to be true types :) Of course his abiding love for Africa shines through and resonates/resonated with me.

Haven't read the autobiography though, so thanks for the pointer!

Sandra Cox said...

we're travelling as life ages … our life changes, we grow, we think … we wonder …'
I like this! Cheers,

Joanne said...

You have a far broader scale of the world through books than I do. You make me realize how vast it all is, and how difficult it can be to really get out of one's hole and truly explore. Thanks as always for opening my eyes.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nila - me too - then like you I got 'a little' bored at the sameness, while your comment pertains so well. Yes - he did love Africa ... while I understand his research was pretty impeccable ... so hope you get a chance to read this memoir.

@ Sandra - yes we travel, life changes, and we wonder - I know I've been doing that particularly since I started blogging ...

@ Joanne - I've been lucky to have lived in South Africa, seen a few countries there ... worked and visited Europe (including Eastern Europe), and then the Canadian year and seen a few places in the States - my eyes have been opened - but I live on a tiny island ... you've a world of adventure at your fingertips ... but I'm happy to open your eyes!

Thanks so much good friends - always happy to read your thoughts - cheers Hilary

Susan Kane said...

His is a new name for me, which is kinda embarrassing. I should have known it by this stage of my reading.

Damyanti Biswas said...

Thanks for the recommendation! Off to check out those books.

Sandra Cox said...

I hadn't heard of Bonniers either.
Have a great weekend.

Inger said...

His name sounds familiar, so I looked him up on Amazon, where I get my books because, by now, I prefer to read them on my Kindle Fire. And there he was and I will read him I too am very interested in Africa and its various cultures and magnificent animals. Thank you, Hilary, I was just looking for something new to read.

Keith's Ramblings said...

You are not the first to recommend Wilbur Smith's books to me. I didn't heed their advice before, but now you've got me tempted Hilary!

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Thanks for that, Hilary. Interesting! I obviously know of Wlbur Smith, but don't think I've ever read anything of his. Now I feel I have missed out - I love meticulous research in books - Frederick Forsyth is a classic example, I think.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - he's a fiction writer ... and swashbuckling - so can understand you in the States not being aware of him .. the Memoir is worth reading ...

@ Damyanti - this one is the best I think ... covers so much, and highlights his research ...

@ Sandra - I hadn't heard of Bonniers - so was interested in that Swedish company ...

@ Inger - that's great ... I think you'll enjoy each chapter in the Memoir - and one has time to look things up, so can learn a bit more at the same time, and put a bit of life's jigsaw into place.

@ Keith - I'm sure ... he's got his own style, which many love - but I was glad I came across this book - a good reference book to have around - re some of my interests now I'm into blogging and learning.

@ Mike - oh good ... another interested blogger - and you're right Frederick Forsyth is similar ... now I've just ordered his autobiography ... another book!

Thanks so much - I'm delighted some of you will be looking for this memoir ... while Mike's suggestion (last comment) is another author whose autobiography I look forward to reading ... interesting - cheers to one and all - Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

You know what? I've never actually read any Wilbur Smith. But his autobiography sounds fascinating! I'm going to add it to my wishlist.